Early Tuesday evening The Arizona Republic’s editorial board broke with a longstanding tradition and endorsed Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. It’s the first time in the paper’s history, 126 years, that its editorial board has endorsed a Democrat.
The Arizona Republic is the oldest and largest newspaper in one of the ”reddest” of Red States and the home of Senator John McCain. It is the state from which Senator Barry Goldwater rode into national prominence and captured the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1964.
Conservatives felt Goldwater, founder of the modern conservative movement, had a good chance of winning a narrow victory against the liberal John Kennedy, who would be running for his second term. The former Massachusetts Senator was deeply unpopular in the south and southwest.
Unfortunately for Goldwater he did not run against Kennedy but had to face a Texas Democrat who painted Goldwater as too dangerous to be President. The stark contrast between Goldwater and Kennedy had been removed with Kennedy’s assassination and the Texan Lyndon Johnson was much more palatable for southerners leading to Goldwater’s crushing defeat.
In its 126 year history the Arizona Republic never endorsed a Democrat for President. It endorsed every candidate who ran against Franklin Roosevelt, even during the war years. It endorsed Richard Nixon more than once. It endorsed Tom Dewey against Harry Truman. It endorsed Goldwater, John McCain and Mitt Romney. It endorsed Bush the Greater and Bush the Lesser.
On Tuesday the Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.
The editorial is a thorough take-down of Republican candidate Donald Trump, and though it acknowledges that Clinton’s candidacy has “flaws,” it very clearly enumerates her capabilities.
It’s well worth your time to read, but its message boils down to this: “Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president. Donald Trump does not.”
People noticed, you might say. The endorsement of Clinton quickly became national news. And the paper immediately got subscription cancellations and death threats from the crazies.
The news quickly began trending on social media. By mid-morning Wednesday, a link to the endorsement on azcentral, the newspaper’s online presence, had gotten more than 520,000 page views and more than 450,000 unique visitors. That is, to coin a phrase, “Huge.”
“Other publications and media outlets, such as the Washington Post, U.S News and World Report, Slate Magazine, Politico, CNN, CBS News, Salon and National Public Radio wrote stories about the endorsement. The Christian Science Monitor’s headline: “Arizona Republic defies its name, endorses a Democrat for president.”
Elvis Weinstein, a writer for television and movies tweeted, “The Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary! That’s like the Galactic Empire Gazette endorsing Yoda.”
The Arizona Republic was not the first traditionally conservative publication to endorse Clinton The Cincinnati Enquirer last endorsed Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat in 1916, also broke ranks and supported Clinton. The Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle, both red state Texas papers, also endorsed Clinton.
“Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather wrote this about the Republic’s endorsement: “What struck me more than any of the policy details was the overall spirit of this piece. It is a ringing reaffirmation of America’s better nature, that we must be a land of compassion, opportunity for all, and unity. In this conservative editorial board’s eyes, Hillary Clinton can be a vehicle for reconciliation.”
Nicely done Dan.